30 Years In The Making
1989 – THE BEGINNING
Pat Downey converted his cattle ranch to the North Fork Elk Ranch and set the foundation for sustainably raising elk in the Rocky Mountain, the indigenous homeland of the Rocky Mountain Elk. For decades, the ranch has served the greater Calgary area with naturally raised, hormone and steroid-free elk products for the consumer meat market, pet food market, and traditional medicine market through the harvest of velvet antler
2013 – COWBOY TRAIL RV OPENS
With access directly from Cowboy Trail (Highway 22) and only one kilometer south of Black Diamond, Alberta, the Downey’s saw an opportunity to serve the greater Calgary area in an added way. A handful of acres on the western edge of the ranch were identified as a spot to offer RV and self-storage to the public – and so Cowboy Trail RV & Self Storage “CTRV” was opened. The Downey’s proudly served the local area with products and services from the NFER and CTRV for 5 more years.
2020 – A NEW BEGINNING
Then in January of 2020, the ranch reached a significant milestone with a sale and succession to Steve Koeckhoven through a commitment to honoring the past by charting a course for a successful future.
And today, while staying true to the traditional methods and practices, the newly named Black Diamond Elk Ranch is actively investing in and incorporating new infrastructure and technologies to preserve the quality and safety of the elk, the land, and the local community.
There is a tremendous opportunity to drive awareness not only for the Ranch and RV business but also to educate consumers around our agriculture industry through a proactive public relations campaign that communicates key messages around the importance of elk farming, the health benefits of elk meat, and the variety of products elk can provide.
In addition to providing high-quality elk products, our ranch is uniquely situated to be a vehicle of educational opportunities to the local and greater Calgary area about the business of agriculture and “where your food comes from”, be a meeting place and host for local clubs and charities, promote small business and tourism within Foothills County and Alberta and assist in the advancement of agriculture research and economic development.
The ranch has the distinction of being a fully “Certified” elk herd – the top herd status level that can be attained in Canada. Like other livestock industries, Canada’s elk industry is regulated by multiple provincial and federal agencies which set standards/regulations on food safety, importing/exporting, transportation, animal welfare, and reporting requirements. With “Certified” status, our ranch exceeds all governmental standards, going over and above to ensure our value chain is strong, safe, and sustainable.